Nonprofits are rushed to create an email campaign which takes time and money that most of them don’t have. Once the email is created, a few test sends are fired off to a personal email and a few work email addresses and if all goes well, the email is then automated to send to donors. While you might look at this as a success, the reality is 1 out of 5 emails sent are marked as spam. This means 20% of the emails your nonprofit sends never reaches donors meaning less brand awareness and fewer donations. $15,000 is lost in donations every year due to spam filters so it’s important to take a look at reasons your emails are being marked as spam on #givingtuesday.
What Are Spam Filters?
Spam filters operate similarly to how Google pushes popular articles to the top and illegitimate articles to the bottom of searches. It’s based on algorithms only people with no lives will figure out and is ever-changing. As spammers become more creative, spam filters need to stay ahead and keep shutting them down. Spam filters are great as people do not like receiving junk mail but can hurt nonprofits who haven’t taken the time to make sure their emails aren’t marked as spam, especially when you’re rushing to execute a last-minute #givingtuesday campaign.
Below we’ll take a look at what you can do to avoid being marked as spam and free software available to help!
1. Sending Irrelevant Content
A lot of email is marked as spam for the simple reason that people are being sent emails that have no relevance to them. While nonprofits want to believe subscribers will just click, “unsubscribe,” instead, people will mark it as spam to make sure they never receive an email from this organization again. Spam filters can take it a step further and if emails are never being opened and sent straight to the trash, email providers like GMail and Outlook will start marking them as spam before the recipients even have a chance. Segmenting your email list can make sure relatable and useful content is being sent to the proper people.
2. Sending Emails To People Without Permission
When creating an email list from scratch, nonprofits can instantly feel defeated with the lack of subscribers they have. Instead of building a list organically, they might purchase a list. Purchasing a list can put you in direct violation with the CAN-SPAM Act and instantly put you on the spam list for future email sends.
Instead of purchasing lists, take the time to build your list organically. Not only will you receive fewer spam complaints but it will also increase your open rates by 5X!
3. Not Including An Unsubscribe Link
Nobody wants to see people unsubscribe from their emails so marketers will not include a link thinking this will increase open rates. Wrong! This actually frustrates recipients and so they mark the email as spam. Email providers have caught on so they’ll mark these emails as spam before they even reach their inbox. Make sure to have an option on all emails to unsubscribe from the list. When they click this button, send them to a landing page asking for a reason they chose to unsubscribe and use this data to improve your email marketing.
4. Using Too Many Spam Words
Spam filters go a step further by reviewing the content in emails and if there are too many spam words like, “FREE MONEY!”, “Act Now!”, they’ll immediately mark it as spam. They’ll review both the body of the email and the subject so to make sure your email isn’t too “spammy”, avoid using common spam words. Comm100 has an extensive list of words to steer clear of. Sometimes these words are unavoidable but do your best to limit how many times you mention them.
There is no guarantee that email providers won’t mark an email spam even when avoiding common mistakes. To help improve the chances of your email hitting the inbox of your recipients, try out these free services.
MailPoet: MailPoet is a free service that will test your spam score while editing your newsletter.
GlockApps: GlockApps will not only test your spam score before you send an email but it will provide tips on how to improve the email and increase deliverability and open rates all for free.
SendForensics: Compare your deliverability results to other nonprofits in your area with SendForensics. They provide free spam checks as well as email data from similar organizations to make sure you’re results are better than the rest.
SpamOwl: SpamOwl reviews your email to make sure it’s not full of “spam words.”
Making sure your #GivingTuesday email lands in people’s inboxes is important for the success of your nonprofit. Reviewing these common mistakes email marketers make and applying them to your campaign can help increase open rates, click throughs, and donations.